Let’s talk about blogs. Some are snarky and edgy. Some are serious and make you darn happy you don’t have a seeing-eye-dog. But most are just fun and pretty, with creative names like “farm-girl-flower-power-cookie-pants” that make you want to stop by and visit, like you’re an old friend popping over for tea. Except with handmade sugar cubes and madelines and hostess gifts wrapped in brown paper and twine.
If you search for half a second, you’ll find some beautiful blogger who lives on a farm and dedicates her life to building joyful memories for her children. She bakes heart-shaped cinnamon rolls and wheat germ chicken nuggets. She dreams up craft projects that instill character and creativity in a three-mile radius. She collects odd and beautiful things like wooden spoons or pewter vases or antique hats. Who in the world collects antique hats? And in case a picture is worth a thousand words, she captures the process of making buttermilk pancakes with her Nikon, the finished product displayed on a vintage china platter with little turrets of syrup running down like an afterthought.
I hate this perfect person, sipping with glee on chilled raspberry lemonade. There’s no way I can hold in my stomach or put makeup on or get all my laundry done, much less make paper lanterns. I tell my children to find something else to do that doesn’t involve screaming or coloring on the floor tiles while I scrub the dried baby food off the chairs or fold bath towels. Never once do I sit down and make a wreath of dried flowers. Or have a discussion at the dinner table that’s worthy of blogging about. Our dinner topics usually center around how many bites of a given vegetable are required before an excused exit.
“Eat your asparagus.”
“But I hate asparagus,” my five-year-old moans.
“You don’t hate it. You might hate things like monsters and evil and rotten fish. But this is asparagus! It’s yummy and grilled! It’s dusted with sea salt!” She just stares at me like monsters and asparagus are on the same exact level.
So when I’m trying to conquer unrelated piles of old bills and insurance paperwork, mixed with children’s artwork and coupons, I feel like an utter failure. Why am I not tying a towel around my childrens’ necks and snapping pictures of them jumping off the coach like superheroes? Why are we not eating frittatas with arugula, or making a may pole? Those pretty, cooking, farm-loving, crafty bloggers make me feel all inadequate and un-motherly. And to top it all off, they make me laugh one moment and tear up like a Hallmark commercial the next. One has a rare blood disorder and adopted three children from Vietnam. How can I possibly hate that?
It says in Ecclesiastes that all the toil that comes from envying one’s neighbor is pure vanity and is just striving after the wind. 4:4. So if I dropped what I was doing and made a fabulous batch of cinnamon scones, does that mean it’s all for not? I think it depends on who I’m trying to impress. And what recipe I used.
Hate, after all, is reserved for monsters and evil and rotten fish.
Women bloggers are lovely strangers, blessed with wildflowers that bloom every spring, with great recipes for chicken pot pie and peanut butter bars. They are just mothers, like me, who have moments of brilliance and beauty and joy amidst the unfortunate discovery of shriveled-up hot dogs found under bedcovers. I am glad they are raising up such strong and spirited children that make the world a better place. They are trying to live simply, and have the guts to write about it. We should all strive to reach that balance, and to plant this world with the same rich heritage seeds.
Thank God for these writers, and discovers, and healthy recipe hunters, who give us ideas and motivation and encouragement. One rainy Tuesday, when I think of a craft project out of the blue for our two edgy children, I’ll thank them. Our daughter will beg to watch television and our son would rather eat more applesauce or stick his hands in the dog’s water bowl. I’ll be the one left sitting at the table gluing shards of paper onto coffee filters, and dinner will consist of scrambled eggs and toast. But still. Thanks all the same.
There’s always tomorrow, when we will have lemon buttermilk pancakes with sugared walnuts. Too bad my camera battery’s dead and no one will ever know.